The past month has been crazy busy. Apart from my day job, I’ve had visitors staying with me, gone on day trips and weekend getaways, and been writing for an online travel guide (very exciting, but more on that another time). I’ve been dying to share pics from a trip I did in the first weekend of November – better late then never!
I was so eager for the trip that I went to work on the Friday with my travel bag in tow. As soon as I was done for the day, I was straight on the first train out of Tokyo. Three and a half hours later, I met up with my travel companions at our first destination: Kanazawa.
Kanazawa is a city on Japan’s west coast, and is known for a number of things: fresh fish, crab, sushi, friendly people, samurai houses, a beautiful train station featuring a giant drum gate, and a 21st century museum of contemporary art. But over all of that, the one place Japanese people think of when they hear Kanazawa, is Kenrokuen. It’s recognised as one of Japan’s three most beautiful gardens, but most people would say there’s no competition; it’s easily THE most beautiful garden in the country.
The name Kenrokuen means ‘a garden consisting of 6 factors’ – it’s spacious yet feels secluded, it’s man-made yet has a feeling of antiquity, and while enjoying the many water features up close we can also take in the view of far-away places which have been mysteriously (abstractly) brought to the garden.
This was actually my second visit to Kenrokuen – the first being Christmas Day 2008 (when I still lived in Australia). I remember being fascinated by the moss gardeners of all things. On that day, they were crouched down on the garden beds as though they were searching for something they’d dropped. But after asking them what they were doing, we found out they were tirelessly weeding unwanted types of moss! And that is how perfection is achieved.
This time around, I went for the autumn foliage. We were a little early but still found pockets of gorgeous colours. The place was packed with Chinese tour groups with their megaphones blaring – not quite the serene morning we were hoping for – but thankfully the garden is massive and it was easy to escape the masses. We were even lucky enough to see a newly wed couple and their bridal party having their photo taken.
It was a magical start to our Saturday, but just the beginning of an amazing weekend. More to come in the next post!